ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Disabled Sports Association (PDSA) chairman Sheikh Abdul Waheed along with secretary Nasir Mehmood Chaudhry announced central contracts for 20 disabled cricketers in four different categories. The contracts were awarded to the players in an impressive ceremony which also graced by PDSA senior vice chairman Saeed Ahmed Bhatti and treasurer M Naved Malik along with other office-bearers.

Talking to The Nation, Waheed said: “As we had promised to offer central contracts to the PDSA cricket team members, we fulfilled our promise. We could have easily offered contracts to the players in January or February this year, but the sudden death of our patron Munawar Mughal shattered all our plans, as he arranged not only respectable jobs for the disabled players but also hefty monthly stipends not only for cricket team members but also for other disabled sportsmen.

“I am very thankful to all the PDSA governing board members who stand united and continue to work on fulfilling all the dreams of late Munawar Mughal. Now with the active help of PDSA governing board members, we have finalized central contracts for 20 players in the first phase in cricket, 10 players in badminton, 10 players in table tennis, 10 players in snooker and 10 players in soccer. We will also extend central contracts to cycling, volleyball, basketball and hockey disabled players soon.”

He said: “I am very grateful to Sheikh Baser Daud for accepting our offer of becoming PDSA patron, as he enjoys a lot of respect in not only business community as being former president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce Industry (ICC) but also had a sporting background. He always lend helping hand to conduct sports events and a perfect replacement of Munawar Mughal. I am quite sure with his vast knowledge and experience, he will play key role in helping the PDSA to fulfill all its promises. “Keeping in mind matchless contributions of Junaid A Khawaja Tandoori, the PDSA governing board members have unanimously decided to appoint him as PDSA vice chairman and his presence will certainly raise morals of the players,” he added.

Waheed said that 16 players had booked their places for the quarterfinal round of All-Pakistan Disabled Badminton Championship. “After playing round matches at different parts of the country, these 16 players will assemble in Islamabad in the first week of August for the quarterfinals to be held at Rodham Hall, Pakistan Sports Board. The event will continue for three days. We will not only offer handsome cash prizes but also medals, certificates, shields and trophies to the top players.”

When asked about national disabled cricket championship and Asia Cup Cricket Championship for disabled, Waheed replied: “We are planning Indian tour next month. We had earlier decided to travel to India last month to meet with Indian disabled cricket officials, but the proposed meeting was rescheduled for August. We will apply for Indian visas after Eid holidays and most likely travel to India in the last week of August. We have completed our homework of hosting the mega event in Pakistan but we are prepared to listen to serious offers and ready to play in India or anywhere in Asia. We talked in detailed with Indian counterparts and we are quite hopeful about positive response from their side. We are fully prepared to invite Afghanistan, Nepal and Bangladesh disabled cricket teams as well.”

When asked about national cricket championship, he said: “The national championship is planned in September or early October in which eight teams from across the country will be divided into two pools. The matches will be held in Islamabad and most likely in Peshawar as well. We will provide boarding/lodging facilities to the players and I am quite hopeful the PSB will provide us accommodation, meal and transportation. We will meet with the PSB DG in this regard to finalize things,” Waheed concluded.